Scio Occultus Res
The Free Council
Until 1899, the Free Council did not, as such, exist. What existed was a loose network of Apostates, unaffiliated mages who felt that the current mage society was seriously hide-bound, refusing to accept the new possibilities offered by the developing technology and philosophy of the world on the verge of the 20th Century.
This disaffection led the Seers of the Throne to view the Apostates as potential recruits or easy prey, and they made a very strenuous offer of recruitment. The arcane war that followed was called The Great Refusal, and ended with a number of dead mages on both sides of the disagreement and the Free Council joining the society of mages officially.
They still feel that the other Orders are too trapped by tradition, and unwilling to embrace the modern world, but they now lend their innovation and anarchic spark to the assemblage, and have thus revitalized the rather stagnant culture of mages.